When Traveling to Europe with Guns, Frontiers Is the Expert!

Traveling with guns has never been easier, as long as you follow the right steps! Luckily, here at Frontiers, we have a dedicated flight department that regularly handles travel with guns, so it’s second nature to us. 

All over the world, flights sometimes get changed without any forewarning, and our due diligence was recently put to the test. We booked a British Airways flight to Madrid with guns, and it was a codeshare flight with Iberia but run by British Airways. We had taken all the correct steps, putting the guns in the record etc., but when we got to the airport, they switched the aircraft to an Iberia aircraft. Iberia has different procedures when it comes to traveling with guns, but it was nothing our brilliant Frontiers flight department couldn’t handle! It all turned out well. 

When it comes to shooting in the UK and Europe, Frontiers has the advantage of having an office in both the US and the UK. We know the shooting and gun regulations in Europe inside and out, and no one knows how to connect guests from the US on the right airlines in the right way quite like we do. It is far from a simple case of registering your guns with your airline. Every airline has different regulations and ways of doing things, and it does not stop there. Every airline has a different approach to connections between its own aircraft and its allied partners. Most are firearms-friendly, but some are not. 

Here are a few pointers (but we must stress, these can change from season to season):

  • Despite fares and frequent flyer miles, we strongly recommend flying direct from the US to the country/city where you will be shooting and avoiding a connection through another airport/country in Europe.  
  • If you are arranging your own flights, please be aware that many carriers require advance notice that you will be traveling with firearms. Please advise the carrier at the time of booking. We also suggest reconfirming at least 2-weeks in advance of departure. If you show up without notice, you will not be permitted to check your firearms.
  • Be sure to have your firearms registered with US Customs. They will issue Form 4457 – “Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad.” Some airlines will ask for this documentation, which is required to bring your guns back into the country.
  • Arrive at the airport one hour earlier than your carrier suggests to go through the gun check-in process. If connecting from your hometown, we suggest allowing plenty of connection time between flights (at least 2 hours) to make sure that your guns get on your international flight. 

Frontiers can also arrange storage services for your guns when arriving in the UK. We can have an RFD (registered firearms dealer) meet you, take your guns while you enjoy other aspects of your trip in the UK or Europe, and deliver them wherever you need them to be, whether it’s in the UK, Spain, or elsewhere in Europe. 

Here’s an overview of how some of the main airlines currently operate, as finding this information online can be very difficult. We must stress, however, that this is valid only at the time of writing and does change frequently.

American Airlines – Will check through their own flights only; will not interline to their partner carriers; passenger must be 18 years of age or older; standard baggage fees apply.

United – Will check through their own flights only; will not interline to their partner carriers; passenger must be 18 years of age or older; will not check guns to, from, or through Bahrain, Cuba, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nigeria, Palau, Philippines, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam; standard baggage fees apply.

Delta – Will interline firearms to their alliance partners KLM and Air France; passenger must be 18 years of age or older; will not check guns to, from, or through Brussels, Belgium; all firearms checked as baggage must be picked up at the Baggage Service Office upon arrival at your final destination and ID will be required to claim your checked firearm; standard baggage fees apply.

British Airways – Will interline bags to alliance partners if partner allows, but connecting flight must be booked under the operating carrier’s code; requires at least 72 hours advance notice of the number of firearms, type, make/model, and caliber, as well as quantity and caliber of ammunition if applicable; charges an additional fee of 125 British Pounds per firearms case checked as baggage (fee is per direction of travel, not per flight segment or trip); requires three hours minimum at LHR to connect firearms; cannot take firearms on BA’s African partner carrier Comair.

SAS – Must advise of firearms more than 24 hours prior to departure using the following website: https://www.flysas.com/en/travel-info/baggage/special/special-baggage-registration/; must check-in at least two hours prior to complete required paperwork; must contact SAS arrival service or baggage management agent on arrival at final destination to arrange firearms pick up; may check firearms through to alliance partner if partner allows.

Air Canada – Will transport firearms through Canada if weapons are declared and a Non-resident Firearm Declaration Confirmation has been obtained in advance (fees apply); passenger must be 18 years of age or older; standard baggage fees apply; must check in at least 30 additional minutes prior to recommended check-in time to process firearms forms; maximum of three firearms per person.       

Lufthansa – Allows only one firearm per case, with two cases maximum; additional fees of up to 287 USD per bag can apply (depending on route and country of final destination; will not transport firearms to LHR, ABZ, EDI, INV, or GLA; must contact LH in advance of travel (recommend minimum of 72 hours prior) to advise of travel with firearms; cannot book the Lufthansa Express Bus with firearms.

All airlines require firearms to be unloaded and preferably disassembled for transport.

Transiting the Netherlands with firearms requires a special transit permit for each connection. You must apply far in advance of travel as they can take up to 12 weeks to process.

Transiting Germany with firearms requires a special transit permit for each connection. We recommend applying for these transit permits a minimum of 4 weeks prior to departure.

UK, France, and the Scandinavian countries served by SAS do not require any transit permits if just firearms are connecting and passenger remains in transit.

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Administrator for European Shooting

Administrator for UK and European Shooting Trips.